Two estranged childhood friends find themselves on parallel paths to return to the site of the conversion therapy camp that tore them apart.
“Two conversion therapy survivors go back to the site of their trauma, hoping the truth will set them free . . . This satisfyingly nuanced story tackles sexuality and spiritual abuse, offering connection and redemption.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“Award-winning author Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s latest novel is focused on the life-saving friendship–and escape–of queer teens who meet at a Christian conversion camp. It’s enraging, heartbreaking, satisfying and an important read for our times.”
DELIA BARNES AND ERNEST WRANGHAM met as teens at Celebration Camp, a church-supported conversion therapy program–the dubious, unscientific, Christian practice meant to change a person’s sexuality. After witnessing a devastating tragedy, they escaped in the night, only to take separate roads to their distant homes.
They have no idea how each has fared through the years. Delia is a college basketball coach who prides herself on being an empowering and self-possessed role model for her players. But when she gets fired from her elite East Coast college, she’s forced to return to her hometown of Rockside, Oregon, to coach at her high school alma mater.
Ernest, meanwhile, is a renowned poet with a temporary teaching job in Portland, Oregon. His work has always been boundary-pushing, fearless. But the poem he’s most wanted to write–about his dangerous escape from Celebration Camp–remains stubbornly out of reach.
Both persist in the mission to overcome the consequences and inhumane costs of conversion therapy. As events find them hurtling toward each other once again, they both grapple with the necessity of remaining steadfast in one’s truth, no matter how slippery that can be. Tell the Rest is a powerful novel about coming to terms, with family, history, violence, loss, sexuality, and ultimately, with love.